Homes & Gardens
Adventure & Sports
Fourteen years after the first official denuncia was made, the demolition of the mansion sitting on a protected mountain in Santa Innes, owned by Romanian music producer, Michael Cretu, has begun. The excavators belonging to Erri Berri, a Navarra-based company, arrived in Ibiza on Wednesday morning and were transported to within two kilometres of the property. Due to the narrow tracks leading up to the house they were unloaded, and the long, slow march to the mansion started. The journey lasted an hour, and as quickly as the gates to the property were opened, they were again closed. Reporters and photographers were banned from passing, and even workers carrying out the demolition were prohibited from taking photos. The two excavators were tested and then stood silent overnight. At 9:16 a.m. the machines were started up and the demolition process began.
The work had, in fact, started several weeks ago as doors and windows were “dismantled”. However, the truth was they were smashed to pieces by the mob sent up to begin the job.
The company confirmed that the demolition of the 3,000 m2 property would take up to four weeks, although experts closer to the action said it could be far less.
Meanwhile Cretu’s lawyer, Jaume Roig, demanded the reopening of the case into damages which was suspended in 2004 until the judge had made his final ruling on the matter. The musician is demanding a total of €18 million in compensation for the mansion, which was built having received permission from the Town Hall. Included in this will be the costs of the demolition work, set to top €300,000. Roig said they were willing to negotiate, but that if their attempts failed they would not be afraid to take the matter to court.
Deputy Mayor Joan Pantaleoni admitted some compensation would have to be paid, but it would be nowhere near the amount being demanded by Cretu. In any case, he said, the figure would be based on the original permit granted which was 700m2, even though the building is now thought to be over 3,000m2.
Meanwhile, the Island Council tried to distance itself revealing it would not be helping the Town Hall foot the bill for damages, as it was solely responsible for the claim. President Xico Tarres said that if the proper procedures had been followed from the start then the Town Hall would not be in the problem it currently finds itself.
The theme was continued by the opposition party, who demanded the Town Hall stopped acting like the victim. They declared that if it had acted correctly from the start, all of the existing problems could have been avoided. PSOE-ExC Councillor Pep Mari went further and demanded those responsible, including the mayor and technicians who originally awarded the building permit, were made to pay the compensation which will surely be handed to the music producer.
Meanwhile, it became clear Cretu had abandoned the island. Several months ago he put all of his properties on sale, and it appears he will not be returning to the island he has called home for the last 15 years.
AROUND THE ISLAND
With just over six weeks to go before the deregulation of the electricity sector in the Balearics, Gesa-Endesa confirmed that just 10.58 per cent of people had so far entered the “free market”. Representatives for the company explained that by 1st July everyone’s contract should have been switched over to the new system. They continued that customers would be contacted, either by telephone or letter, over the next few weeks and informed of the changes. Those domestic customers willing to sign up with Gesa-Endesa for another 12 months will be offered discounts of around 2%. Reductions will be significantly greater for small, medium and larger businesses, reaching 12% in some cases. The discount will depend on the amount of kw contracted, with those using the most liable for the largest reductions.
Unfortunately the options for domestic customers will be non-existent at the moment as no-one has so far shown any interest in competing within this market. However, Union Fenosa and Gas Natural will both be trying to poach Gesa clients with more than 10kw of power. They confirmed that under present market conditions, and due to the fact they will have to pay rent to use the lines originally laid by Gesa, anything below this was simply not feasible.
However, generally the move is good news for customers who are eventually going to see a small reduction in prices after years of increases. By 1st July everyone will need to have changed their contract, or they will be charged the Ministry of Industry set price, which will mark the maximum price companies are allowed to charge.
Gesa-Endesa confirmed demand for electricity on the island had bucked the national trend and was up. During April consumption reached 53.35 GW, a 5.8 per cent increase compared to the same month in 2008. In Mallorca no increase was recorded, whilst in Menorca consumption decreased by 1.9 per cent.
Fears the building of the new hospital, which is due to begin by the end of the year, could be delayed should prove unfounded after the Balearic Government declared the land in the area, urbano. There were fears delays could be incurred if the Town Hall of Ibiza was not able to pass its new Land Use Plan in time. However, this will now not matter as the land has been reclassified by the Govern after a special session on Friday.
The Balearic Minister for Health, Vicenc Thomas, explained that he hoped work could begin by November. He continued that once the contract had been granted, the building would take approximately 24 months, which would mean, if there were no problems, the new hospital would be up and running by the end of 2011.
The former Island Councillor for Heritage, Joan Mari Tur, is to stand trial for wantonly destroying a precious archaeological site during the building of the second ring-road around Ibiza Town. Mari Tur will appear in court on 27th May, along with his former deputy, Antoni Arabi.
The construction company, (MAB), who carried out the work, has already been summoned, as well as the project manager. All are accused of flagrantly ignoring calls for work to stop after the discovery of a Roman cistern and aqueduct during the building process. Although the Island Council were told of the discovery, work continued, which eventually resulted in the destruction of the site. GEN, the environmental group, made an official complaint in December 2005, and all those accused will now face criminal charges.
Balearic Minister Jaume Carbonero made a dramatic u-turn on Thursday as he announced the speed limit on part of the San Antonio-Ibiza road would be increased to 100km/h. The changes will be made this week, although the exact sections to be increased have yet to be decided. However, it is believed it will affect the two portions where the speed radars are located.
Carbonero admitted he had been keen on maintaining the current limit, but that he had taken heed of pleas from the Island Council, which had insisted the limit be lifted in certain areas.
During the first 45 days in operation the newly installed speed cameras caught a total of 5,043 vehicles breaking the limit by travelling over 90km/h, - as there is a 10km/h error factor weighed in.
Following the news that health benefits were to be increased for patients being treated off the island, the association for cancer sufferers, (AECC), revealed the support package for patients receiving treatment in Mallorca was also to be improved. Last year a total of 114 patients from Ibiza were treated in Son Dureta hospital, 21 more than in 2007. The Balearic president of AECC, Teresa Martorell, signed an agreement on Monday which will see patients and their companions receive far more help once on the ground.
The deal, jointly financed by the association and the Balearic Government, will be co-ordinated from Son Dureta.
The Island Council announced on Monday that it was set to introduce 54 glass recycling bins across the island in an attempt to improve the figures. Island Councillor for the environment, Albert Prats, said the bins would be strategically placed close to shops, bars and restaurants to ensure them getting the most usage. The bins have a capacity for 3,000 litres and include the Vacri system which enables smaller containers to be lifted up, to make depositing the bottles in the bank even easier.
The introduction of the bins comes as the recycling company, Ecoembes, revealed almost 90 per cent of Balearic residents recycled their rubbish, with plastic containers, tins and cartons still the most popular; just one of the reasons the councillor wants to promote the recycling of glass.
Several days later Prats’ immediate superior, Balearic Minister Miquel Angel Grimalt, revealed a total of more than 200,000 kilos of rubbish had been collected from the Balearic coastline during the winter clean-up. This year the campaign was stepped up a level so as to create even more employment.
Abel Matutes’ days as a TUI board member could be under threat after an attack from the company’s biggest single shareholder. John Fredriksen, the world's most powerful ship owner, has written a letter to all of the shareholders asking for Matutes and Jürgen Krumnow, the supervisory board chairman, to be replaced. He claims Matutes, who owns a total stake of three per cent in the company, has a conflict of interests as many of his hotels within the Fiesta group are also contracted by Tui.
Mr Fredriksen, who rules an empire extending from oil tankers to drilling ships, also owns 16.8 per cent of the company’s shares. He wants himself and Tor Olav Trøim, his business partner, elected in their place.
The shipping tycoon tried unsuccessfully to remove the pair at last year’s AGM, although this year he has slightly more pull as it appears he has the backing of Tui’s main Russian investor, Alexey Mordashov. Mr Fredriksen last month turned down an offer by Tui to name a “neutral candidate” as a member of the supervisory board. Company sources said that Tui would not accept Mr Fredriksen himself, or his business partner, Tor Olav Troim, as both had attacked the board members personally in the past. The AGM is set to take place today, 13th May.
In other Matutes related news this week, the Balearic Minister for Public Works, Jaume Carbonero, confirmed the Fiesta group had paid back €3.5 million which they had mistakenly received last year. The money was awarded in compensation for the expropriation of various pieces of land during the building of the Ibiza-Airport road. In total the group was paid €5.8 million, after the land was valued at €92/m2, the normal face value of land classified as urbano. However, after further investigation some of the Fiesta-owned land was discovered to be rustico, and therefore worth just €9/m2. This meant the group had been overpaid by €3.5 million, money which was paid back in April, according to the minister.
Unemployment in Ibiza at the end of April fell by 616 compared to the previous month. In total there are 8,661 people out of work on the island, 64.3 per cent more than in the same month of 2008. Adding those on the dole in Formentera, the total in the Pitiusas is 9,098, the highest April figure on record.
The secretary general of the UGT union said that despite the negative results people were beginning to get back to work during May, as the tourist season began in earnest.
Meanwhile, on a national scale the situation continued to worsen with a rise of 39,478 people during April, ensuring a total of 1,306,363 people had joined the queue during the last year. The monthly increase was considerably lower than the rises of 198,838 recorded during January, in February of 154,058, and in March of 123,543. However, the long term forecast looked bleak with the European Commission in Brussels predicting unemployment in Spain would reach 20.5 per cent by 2010.
San Jose remains the most poplar place to buy a property on the island with 27.7 per cent of new purchases in 2008 carried out within the municipal. Meanwhile, Ibiza Town tops the popularity list for rented properties, with 57.9 per cent of those choosing to rent picking the capital.
Following the success of the Balearic promotional event over the bank holiday weekend, it is now the turn of the island’s artists to make their impression. From 8th May various Balearic artists will be displaying work at the Summerlee museum in Glasgow as part of the In Flux project being backed by the Institute for Balearic Studies, (IEB). Those on display will include Marian Moratinos, Pep Guerrero, Monica Fuster and Teresa Matas.
Summerlee Industrial Museum is set within 22 acres of land close to Glasgow, and is based around the site of the 19th Century Summerlee Ironworks, a forerunner in the use of what was at the time the ground-breaking hot blast iron smelting process that led Coatbridge to become known as the 'Iron Burgh'. The works closed in the 1930s and the site levelled. Excavated in 1985 as part of the heritage park's development, the site of the original ironworks can now be viewed from a special walkway.
The paintings will be displayed in Summerlee's main exhibition hall which recently underwent a complete refurbishment, thanks to a £10m project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The museum attracts a large number of visitors from local schools and the works displayed usually have an educational theme.
Finish in Sight
The new bus station currently being finished in Ibiza Town will not open until at least the end of the month, according to sources close to the Town Hall. The facility, which includes an underground car park and office space, was supposed to have been completed in October 2008. However, several delays have ensured the building has remained closed until now.
The Town Hall later confirmed the decision had been made to wait until the access road leading to the bus station had been completed. This is being finished at the moment, leading to optimism everything could be ready by the end of the month.
The building will also house the capital’s new police department, as well as several other municipal services.
The project planned by the Town Hall which aims to renovate sa Penya was put on show at the Town Hall last week. The first part of the project will see a 1,000m2 multi-purpose square built in sa Pedrera at the foot of Dalt Vila’s walls. The project will cost a total of €1.1 million and have to be completed in less than a year.
Theatre of Dreams
The Island Council has given the green light to an ambitious project to restore the Pereyra Theatre building in the centre of Ibiza Town. The listed property, which is owned by the Matutes family, was constructed in 1898, and has been used as a bar and live music venue for the last few years. The special department of the Council which deals with buildings of historical and artistic value, Ciotupha, claimed it believed the project would be beneficial to the area and help maintain one of the most historically important buildings on the island.
A spokesman for the Matutes family revealed this was just the first stage of the administrative process, and that all of the necessary building licenses would now have to be applied for. He continued that the work would take time and prove very costly, just one of the reasons the family has asked for a multi-purpose activity license once the building has been restored.
The current outside structure of the building will be maintained, whilst inside the old theatre will be restored. However the bar will remain, as will the live music venue, with the family claiming it would be the only way to recover some of the costs of the repair work.
In other news the commission also agreed to the new plans for the Contemporary Art museum, (MAC), currently being built in Dalt Vila. Work had to be stopped on the project after an important archaeological site was found close by. The remains, said to be from the Carthaginian era, were described as spectacular by experts at both the Council and Town Hall. Island Councillor for Heritage, Marga Torres, said the floor space of the museum had been reduced in size, although it would now benefit from the site which will remain in situ.
Ciotupha also agreed to begin the procedures which should result in the classification of the boat, “Thopaga”, as a protected artefact. The 35-metre schooner sank off the coast of Brittany in western France in July 2008 as it was on its way to a boat show from its base in Ibiza. All nine crew members were rescued by helicopter by the French maritime rescue service close to the port of Brest. However, nothing could be done to save the vessel which had sprung a major leak during the night. The two-masted wooden ship was built in 1924 and although she was registered in France, had been based on the island for many years. The captain at the time, Antonio Tur Riera, has since become a major campaigner in trying to get the boat refloated. The French authorities have shown significant interest in doing just this, and, according to Tur Riera, the classification of the boat as a protected object will only add weight to the campaigners’ arguments.
The Town Hall of Ibiza voted in favour of a radical new financial plan to meet head on, the debts it has been saddled with over the last year. Town Halls in Spain are allowed to raise debt levels to just 55 per cent of their budget, but this was not the case last year as the administration paid out a total of €10 million extra in order to purchase building number 4 of the new central bus station.
However, the plan has been criticised by the PP party who claim it is unrealistic. Opposition leader, Virtudes Mari, said the administration were firstly not admitting to all of their debts and were leaving out €12.8 million owed to the World Heritage Society, as well as several other smaller amounts. She also claimed they were basing their figures on the fact they would have exactly the same income as in 2007. She said this would clearly not be the case, and as more and more businesses went under, as well as the drastic reduction in applications for building permits, the amount recovered by the Town Hall would be drastically reduced. She ended by asking whether the administration planned an increase in taxes to cover the pay-back plan.
The councillor in charge of finance, Santiago Pizarro, denied the claims and said his department had always been responsible when it came to the municipal coffers, and this would be no different. He admitted current municipal debt was up to €23 million, but that this would be stabilised and reduced over the next three years.
Meanwhile, a recent campaign promoting pedestrian and cyclist security which was carried out within the municipality last year already looks to have paid dividends. The chief of police, Manuel Ayala, confirmed traffic incidents involving the general public were down ten per cent so far this year.
The Town Hall is in talks with the Coastal Authority to build a jetty in the bay to give a temporary solution to those boats still illegally moored in the area. Both institutions recently ordered the removal of all of the boats moored within the bay. Some were removed, but there are still around 20 remaining. To ensure these boats will have somewhere to go, for the time being at least, a platform for around 40 boats is set to be built between the marina and the beach at sa Punta des Moli, with the available spaces being rented to visitors. The work will take around a month to complete, but is still in the very early planning stage at the moment, with a source from the Town Hall claiming he hoped it could be in place by next summer.
The largest car park in ses Salinas could remain closed this summer if a dispute between the company which owns the land, Dunasal Park, and the owners of the other car park, is not resolved in the next few weeks. The car park in question has a total of 450 spaces and lies next door to the 250-space car park owned by Ibifor.
The latter has managed both pay car parks for the last two years after an agreement had been reached between the two companies. However, this year Dunasal Park is asking for a 30 per cent increase in the amount paid by Ibifor for the right to rent the parking spaces, charged at €4 per car and €2 per moped. However, Ibifor says this is simply not viable, and whilst they are prepared to break even, they are not ready to lose money. The problem would then result from the fact the larger car park is accessed via land owned by Ibifor. Therefore, if no agreement is reached, right of entry to the car park could be denied.
The managing director of Ibifor, Joan Cardona, agreed all hope was not lost and that both parties needed to work towards finding a solution, as the closure of the car park would cause untold problems in the area this summer.
The Town Hall announced last week that it had given the go-ahead for a market in Playa den Bossa. The nightly event will take place on calles Ruda and Bruc and begin on 25th May, running though until the end of September. However, the market will be strictly for handmade arts and crafts, with all other merchandise, including the sale of food, banned. There will be around 27 stalls all of which will open from 7:00 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.
The Town Hall of Santa Eulalia has asked for the cycle-lane, set to be included on the Ibiza-San Miguel road, to be scrapped. Mayor Vicent Mari claimed wider pavements of between 1.5 and 2 metres would ensure both pedestrians and cyclists were able to avoid using the road. Additionally he said the creation of more cycle routes inland would also alleviate the problem, and be preferable to most casual cyclists. This option was supported by the Town Hall of San Juan, who agreed the many paths along the road could be tidied up and used as cycle lanes, in addition to hiking paths and horse-riding trails.
The road has caused no end of controversy since the project was unveiled towards the end of last year. However, despite the protests the Island Councillor for transport, Albert Prats, remained adamant nothing would be changed. This was despite a petition with more than 1,000 signatures being handed to the Island Council on Thursday in support of the 150 landowners affected by the project.
In other municipal business the Town Hall voted against the proposal of removing the crucifix which sits on the wall of the main meeting room. The idea was suggested by Councillor Jorge Roselló who argued that whilst the proposal was not intended to be anti-religion, the municipality represented many people of different faiths and creeds and that the institution representing the general public should be devoid of any religious slants, claiming limits should be respected between personal and public beliefs. In the end his proposal was rejected by 15-4.
Additionally, the administration voted in favour of new legislation to control residual waste and cleaning throughout the municipality. Just one of the various new radical measures will involve fines of €150 for those not separating their waste and recycling.
The new web-page launched by the Town Hall of San Juan at the end of March has received 8,366 visitors during its first month in operation. The site, www.santjoandelabritja.com, is still only available in Spanish and Catalan, which makes the statistics all the more impressive according to Mayor Antoni Mari Carraca. Available on the site there is the chance to participate in interactive trips along the municipality’s coasts, a first in Ibiza. Maps and leaflets can also be downloaded in PDF format.
The figures were revealed as the mayor came in for criticism from the opposition party who accused him of neglecting parts of the municipality. His critics claimed that although the season was already well underway, nothing had been done to resolve the rubbish strewn across many parts of the region, although the crossing between San Lorenzo and San Miguel was one of the areas highlighted.
Despite assurances made just two weeks ago by marine expert, Ignacio Franco, five Portuguese man of war jellyfish have recently been caught off the coast of Formentera. Franco claimed the species found close to Denia and the Costa del Sol in recent months would not make an appearance off the Balearics. However, lifeguards on the island have been advised to be on the look-out, and have been carrying out regular boat trips close to the island’s favourite beaches, although more sightings were said to be unlikely.
The Portuguese Man o' War, (Physalia physalis), also known as the blue bubble, or blue bottle, is a jelly-like, marine invertebrate from the Physaliidae, family. The common name comes from a Portuguese war ship of the 15th and 16th century, the man-of-war, which had triangular sails similar in outline to the bladder of the Portuguese Man O' War. They are commonly but erroneously thought of and referred to as a jellyfish. In fact, a Portuguese Man O' War is not a single animal, but rather a siphonophore – a colony of four kinds of minute, highly modified individuals, which are specialized polyps and medusoids. Each such zooid in these pelagic colonial hydroids or hydrozoans has a high degree of specialization and, although structurally similar to other solitary animals, are all attached to each other and physiologically integrated rather than living independently. Such zooids are specialised to such an extent that they lack the structures associated with other functions and are therefore dependent for survival on the others to do what the particular zooid cannot do by itself.
It floats on the surface by means of a gas-filled, balloon-like float that changes shape to catch the prevailing wind. The stinging tentacles, (nematocysts), can cause extremely painful stings, shock, and in certain instances, death. These tentacles have been known to grow to 50 metres.
Sources at the Natural Park of ses Salinas confirmed a total of five species had been captured during the week at Punta Pedrera, Cala Saona and la Savina. This followed two sightings off the coast of Migjorn earlier in the week. Fortunately the species are not common in the Mediterranean, and the intrusion was said to be extremely rare.
However, marine expert, Josep Maria Gili, said their appearance was not too uncommon in the Mediterranean, although he continued they rarely arrived in large numbers. He confirmed their stings were around ten times more powerful than regular jellyfish normally found off the islands’ coasts, but that the mortality rate was extremely low, only affecting those with sting allergies. “A sting would certainly ruin your holiday, but rarely prove any more serious”, he claimed.
His opinion was backed up by the National Oceanic Institute who confirmed the species spotted off the coast would be dead within a few days and that it would be rare if any more were spotted. The institute denied the sting was fatal, claiming there was no cause for alarm in the area.
Meanwhile an agreement is close which will ensure the Balearic fishing fleet will be compensated for any jellyfish collected during the months of June-September. A source confirmed that at least one boat would leave from each of the sixteen ports in the Balearics, (ten in Mallorca, three in Menorca, two in Ibiza and one in Formentera), on a daily basis to collect the marine pests, boats being awarded compensation relating to the weight of jellyfish collected. However, nothing has yet been signed and it should not be forgotten that the fishing fleet rejected an offer made by the Balearic Government last year to carry out a similar task.
CRIME & INCIDENTS
Four people were sent to prison during the week after police found 1,200 grams of cocaine in their car. The discovery was made as the group arrived at the port of Ibiza. Police stopped the car and searched the vehicle. It is unknown if they had been working on a tip-off. The stash was found in a hidden compartment within the vehicle.
There were five people in the car at the time, three men, two of Colombian descent and a Spaniard, as well as a Colombian woman all of whom were sent to prison, whilst the fifth person, a Bolivian woman, was temporarily released.
By modern day standards Ibiza is an extremely safe place to holiday. This is a weeks worth of news and so its effect is magnified. Please do not fret while you are here - you are quite safe!!
If you have any stories for our incidents section then call or fax 971-348-271 or e-mail on: email@example.com
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